Why Running Your Own Server Might Cost You More than Renting One

August 2019

Building your own server may seem like an appealing idea at first, but it may not be as beneficial as it seems. While you can build your own server at home, you usually won’t be able to achieve the same level of reliability and power as a hosted server environment inside of a data center. Ultimately, attempting to build an at-home server can end up being costlier than investing in a server host.

How to Run a Server at Home

At its most basic, a server is a computer with the proper configuration. You can build a computer, install server software, and connect it to the internet — in just three steps, you’ve set up a home server. Many people frequently set up their own home server for:

  • Media – A media file server may be used to serve music, video, and games to the rest of a home.
  • Games – A game server may be used to host multiplayer games, providing a central hub on which other users can connect.
  • Websites – A web server can host a complete website, serving web pages on demand.
  • Files – A file server can be used to sync files on devices or to serve as a central repository.
  • Development – A development server can be used to test new applications and web platforms.

Any computer can technically be a server, though not every computer will perform well — a good server needs a large amount of hard drive space, memory, and processing speed. And however powerful your server is, it is also going to rely upon the surrounding environment to provide peak performance. A server requires reliable utilities, solid hardware, and regular maintenance and repairs.

Server Hosting vs. Hosting a Server at Home

While it is possible to install a home server, there are a few things that can make this less cost-effective than it seems. Here are a few reasons why working with hosting companies is often preferred:

  • Hardware – You are responsible for the hardware. This means that you need to invest in the hardware initially, in addition to providing upgrades as needed. This can be costly if you’re using the proper server grade processors and motherboards, instead of just desktop grade. If you rent your server instead, you won’t need to invest in the hardware itself; you can instead pay a low monthly fee. If anything breaks down on a hosted server, the hosting company replaces it immediately — not you.
  • Utilities – You need reliable utility services. In order for your server to be effective, you need to pay for high speed, reliable internet, and make sure your electricity is never interrupted. Most residential utility services aren’t built for the traffic that a server might need. More importantly, many servers consume large amounts of electricity. This means that your utility bills might end up costing you more than renting a server would.
  • Troubleshooting – You have to troubleshoot your server yourself. Managing your at-home server can become a tremendous time sink. A rented server is going to come with customer support already included, which improves your uptime and reduces cost on time spent. Hosting companies also have the experience and expertise needed to resolve issues before they become disruptive.

Not only is renting a server less time-consuming than trying to create your own, but it may ultimately be less expensive. You won’t need to personally invest in hardware or maintain it, and you’ll gain access to powerful resources in exchange for your subscription fee. Many hosting companies allow month to month payment, so you are able to test the waters before investing long term.

Interested in renting a server? Contact the experts at ReliableSite today to get started.